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Close at the finish
Eastside splits pair of tight contests with Rockdale

CONYERS - The final night of the regular season yielded two close games at Rockdale County High School as Rockdale and Eastside battled to a split.

The Rockdale girls rallied to win 38-34 in the opener, while the Eastside boys came back from a large deficit to beat the Bulldogs 67-66 in the nightcap.

BOYS

Eastside 67, Rockdale 66

The Eagles (12-12 overall, 4-6 in 8-AAAA South) came back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Rockdale in a thriller.

Rockdale (12-10, 5-5) led 20-13 after the first quarter, 38-26 at the half and 57-43 as the fourth quarter began. The Eagles trailed by as many as 14 early in the fourth quarter before closing out the game with a 23-7 run.

Artis Clanton led the Eagle offense with a game-high 26 points. Gabe Mathis followed with 14, Cameron Robinson added 11 and Quay Maddox chipped in 10.

Rockdale was led by Ryan Watts and Cordarryl Bethly with 12 and Kevin Ware with 10.

The Eastside win shakes up the region standings just a bit. Eastside will be the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Region 8-AAAA Tournament, while Rockdale and Alcovy have to flip a coin to determine who finishes third and fourth in the subregion.

GIRLS

Rockdale 38, Eastside 34

The Rockdale girls (7-15, 3-7) needed a huge second-half surge to top the Lady Eagles (4-17, 1-9), coming out on top 38-34.

In a sluggish offensive first half, the Eastside girls managed a 13-12 lead at the break. The Lady Eagles increased their lead to 26-20 by the end of the third quarter.

It wasn't until the Lady Bulldogs opened the final frame with a 12-0 run that the gymnasium finally awoke.

Porshia Cleveland was clutch for the Lady Bulldogs, scoring 15 of her game-high 17 points in the second half. Cleveland also hit 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch to seal the win for Rockdale.

Giovanni Sims was also part of Rockdale's resurgence, scoring nine of her 12 points in the second half.

Eastside received a fine game from Jade Cook, who led the Lady Eagles with 16 points. Cook scored 12 of her 16 in the second half and even hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was too little, too late. No other Eastside player finished with more than five points.

The win secured the Lady Bulldogs a No. 4 seed in the region tourney, while the Lady Eagles finish as the No. 6 seed from 8-AAAA South.

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@rockdalecitizen.com.